Tool Time: Top Defensive Infielders

Gliding across the infield like Luis Aparicio or making the spectacular play of an Ozzie Smith can save runs and make pitchers extremely happy. These San Diego Padres prospects get a passing grade from their pitchers for their defensive prowess.

Jesus Lopez

While his range isn't up there with the best, Lopez makes the play on anything within his realm of sight. He is solid at putting himself in position to make a play, knows where to sit based on the batter and turns the double play with ease.

Blessed with soft hands, a cannon arm and excellent footwork, Lopez may be the best defensive infielder in the entire system – the majors included. As a 19-year-old, he led the Midwest League in fielding percentage.

Sean Kazmar

Late in the season, Kazmar moved over to shortstop from his perennial second base position and shined. Ranging left or right proved no challenge for Kazmar, as he picked the ball off the bat quickly and was in motion laterally to make a play.

His ability to play shortstop and move around the diamond bodes well for his future as a utility player – sure hands, good footwork, and a good arm.

Chase Headley

As smooth as they come, Headley may not look the part, but don't let that fool you – he is quite capable of manning the hot corner. There is a reason he led the Texas League in fielding percentage among third basemen.

He has delicate hands and a firm understanding of when to attack the hop and when to sit back. Add in an accurate arm and good balance when he throws and Headley always gets the sure out. Lack of lateral agility and range stands between him and the top.

Andrew Parrino

Quick as a cat in the field, Parrino dances through the infield to make plays laterally and from deep in the hole.

Splitting time between second base and shortstop, Parrino comes in on the ball well and doesn't get caught in those in-between hops. He transitions the ball from his glove to his hand with ease and never appears to be in a rush while still getting his man.

Craig Cooper

Having a first baseman on this list seems strange, but Cooper defies the odds with his ability to move around the bag to make plays.

Scooping balls out of the dirt to save his fellow infielders as well as having a good arm to turn the double play from first make him the top infielder at his position – a position that is in on nearly every ground ball hit.

Honorable mention:

Tom King

Playing third base in the Padres fall Instructional League, King was a beast. He showed solid range and agility, especially coming in to field bunts and gunning down runners at first base. The early signs say he could move up this list.

Brett Dowdy

A master of the intricacies in baseball, Dowdy can be moved around to any position on the diamond and provide sure defense.

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